Welcome to my June 2012 monthly income report.
Each month I go into detail about my online businesses—what I've been up to, what worked, what didn't work, how much I earned and where it all came from.
I write these reports because I think it's important to be honest and upfront with my audience. Much like how companies in the stock market publicly share their earnings for investors, I share my reports because I think of you as investor of your time, and I would only want you to invest in me and my information if you feel I have something that adds value to you. The more you know about me, the more you can understand if this website is for you.
Let's get started:
Blog World Expo 2012
I'll be posting those presentations (or slight variations of them) on the blog and/or podcast very soon.
I also had the pleasure of sitting in on a number of superb presentations too:
- Derek Halpern's presentation about actually getting results from the work you do on your blog was amazing. I've always loved his stuff, but his ability to teach using both data from academic research and data from his own experience is unmatched, and his expertise was amplified even more when I heard him speak live.
- I was also fortunate enough to be introduced to Stu Mclaren, co-founder of the popular membership site plugin WP-Wishlist. I sat in on his presentation about proven membership models and I'm not kidding when I say I laughed and cried during his presentation—it was incredible. I immediately connected with Stu not just because his presentation was awesome, but because of his obvious love for being a dad.
- Jaime Tardy's presentation about utilizing major press was great too. Jaime has been featured on several major press platforms, including the front page of Yahoo (twice!), and I learned a ton of stuff about this side of blogging that many people, including myself, hardly ever explore.
Beyond the actual presentations, just the fact that I was with people face-to-face in this world of blogging made it all worthwhile.
(At Katz's Delicatessen, from left to right: Adam Baker, myself, David Risley, Derek Halpern, Cliff Ravenscraft, Corbett Barr and Jason Van Orden)
Still though, I have to say that nothing excites me more than meeting a Smart Passive Income fan for the first time. It's so cool when someone you've never met before says they appreciate you, or they've taken your advice and have done something with it.
There were a lot of hugs and hand-shaking with people and I will never get sick of that.
To everyone who came up to say hi and/or if you attended one or more of my presentations—thank you so much!
While in Hawaii…
After I got home from Blog World Expo, my family and I went on a semi-spontaneous mini-vacation to Hawaii.
We figured that with baby #2 coming in just a few months (woohoo!) this would be our last chance to go on a vacation for quite some time. Even now, mommy is close to around that time she shouldn't be flying anymore.
To prep for the trip, I composed 2 blog posts which were scheduled to be released while I was away:
- To Pat, From Google Adsense: About Your Account…
- Building the Ultimate Resource: Taking a Niche Site and Actually Making it Useful
The cool part was that after the first post was published, the SPI blog had it's highest day of traffic ever, by far:
It was sweet to see that much traffic and even sweeter to know it happened on a day where I did nothing but enjoy the beach with my family.
Of course, the traffic didn't come as a result of simply scheduling a post—it was the result of a number of other factors:
- The topic of banned Google Adsense accounts is a very interesting and curious topic. What was even more interesting was the warning that I got instead.
- I spent 30 minutes coming up with the headline. This was the hardest part.
- I scheduled an email broadcast to go out a few hours after the post went live. This was inspired by the recent podcast interview with Fraser Cain, who said his email list was one of his main traffic sources.
- I inserted a Tweetable.
A tweetable is a “soundbite”—something short, sweet and interesting people would want to tweet—and you should make it easy for them to do so.
This is something I picked up from Derek Halpern. I've seen him use tweetables on Social Triggers before, but it wasn't until I heard him explain more and share his results at Blog World Expo that I decided to try it out too.
So in the first post I published, I inserted the following tweetable:
“All I know is, I would NOT let Google babysit my kids.” <- Click to Tweet This
The link was clicked over 800 times and drove hundreds of new visitors to the post.
I used clicktotweet.com to make it easy, in case you'd like to give it a go too.
Security Guard Training Headquarters—The Next Level
In Building the Ultimate Resource: Taking a Niche Site and Actually Making it Useful, I talked about how I could take my security guard training site to the next level as I'm determined to make it more than just an Adsense niche site.
The Adsense income was up from last month, which is great, but there is so much more I can do with it.
To start, I've already hired a part-time writer to add more fresh content to the site. The new content will be helpful for SEO purposes: for solidifying my current rankings as well as possibly getting even more long-tail traffic, which is actually the bulk of my traffic.
Here's a update of the rankings for my most important keywords, which is quite encouraging:
There are two new keywords on this list that I'm particularly interested in: guard card and security guard jobs.
Both keywords, on their own, have more potential traffic than my primary keyword, and guard card (a card or qualification one needs in the state of California to work as a hired security guard) I've been slowly SEO-ing for over a year now. For the longest time, it was stuck in the 40s, so it's great to finally see it in the top 10!
There are a lot of companies who create training programs to obtain a guard card online, which I could easily promote as an affiliate. I'm hoping to get to the top half of the first page within the next few months, and I'll be experimenting with some new legit SEO tactics that I'm currently testing.
As always, I'll keep you posted on my progress.
In addition to the new writer, I have my part-time virtual assistant conducting research and collecting information about all of the security guard training companies in the U.S.
She's building a huge database of companies (currently there are over 700 companies she's found, and she's just scratched the surface) which include their company name, physical address, web address, phone number, and where on the site they offer training.
I'll be using this data to enhance the user experience on the site and hopefully include some kind of directory and/or lead-gen relationship with some of the companies that are listed.
I don't have an exact plan of action yet, but all I know is that if I want the site to become the ultimate resource, I need to know what companies can train people and where they are located.
I'm also speaking with an expert database programmer to help me implement a search-by-zip function on the site.
Exciting stuff! I can't wait!
WordPress Plugin—Coming Soon!
As I mentioned in my 2012 Goal Post, one of my goals was to launch one premium WordPress plugin by August 1st.
I'm not sure if I'll make it in time, but the first beta version is complete and undergoing tests, and I'm really excited about it!
I don't expect this plugin to be a major game-changer like Glen Allsop's Opt-In Skin plugin, but all I know is that once it's finished, it's going to help me solve a huge problem that I've been having over the past year, and it could help other people too.
It doesn't reinvent the wheel, but it takes something that's “just okay” and makes it a lot better, both for a site owner, and the users of his or her site.
I know I can't get any more vague than that (I'm sorry!) but you'll hear more about it in the next month or two.
With that said, don't expect a huge launch sequence from me or tons of affiliates promoting it at the same time. It'll just be a nice solution that I'll share with you, and if you're interested, awesome. If not—then no worries. 🙂
The development process this time around is going much better compared to my last attempt a year ago when I basically threw away $2.5k on a couple of other plugins with mediocre developers.
I take full responsibility for that loss.
In the last week of June I went “video crazy”, publishing 4 videos in the span of 4 days, including the blooper reel with my son.
I'm in love with video right now, not only because it's an amazing platform to share and spread ideas on, one that can generate a ton of extra traffic to a website—both directly and through SEO—but I'm in love with video also because it's just so darn fun!
The platform gives me the most freedom when it comes to expressing creativity, and I've been studying some of the most highly viewed videos and most populated channels on YouTube to see if there were any techniques and strategies that I could try.
I just published a post sharing how I did several of those techniques, which you can read by clicking here.
And once again, I have to give a shout out to Gideon Shalwick and Splasheo (affiliate link) for the awesome video bumpers that I've been using and getting a lot of comments about. If you're looking to get a bumper intro for yourself, please note that the intro options are not yet available on the site, but they will be soon. You can either sign up for his list to get notified right away (there will be a wait list), or just come back later.
Currently I have 9,226 subscribers on my YouTube channel, just 774 short of my 2012 goal of 10k.
I'm also just short of 1.5 million total views.
Again, I'm loving video right now—and you should too!
I think it's time for some numbers:
Full Disclosure: Some of the items in the list below are affiliate links, which means that if you choose to make a purchase through that link, I will earn a commission. This commission comes at no additional cost to you. Please understand that I have experience with all of these companies, and I recommend them because they are helpful and useful, not because of the small commissions I make if you decide to buy something. Please do not spend any money on these products unless you feel you need them or that they will help you achieve your goals.
Also, please note that a lot of these are figures from reports from each individual company for the previous month. It does not necessarily reflect the actual payment which, for some of the companies listed below, come 30 to 60 days later and may change because of potential refunds or corrections.
Note: Items with an empty difference percentage were not present on the previous month's income report.
Major expenses this month include virtual assistants (one full-time, one part-time), hosting account for SPI (dedicated server), hosting for other websites, recurring payments for various tools, CPA (Certified Public Accountant) fees and expenses while at blog world expo, including half for a party that Derek Halpern and I hosted mid-week.
A very good month, once again!
Although it looks like I took a huge hit (minus $10k) in June, most of that is because in May I received a rather substantial payment from a client.
I'm also excited to see that my non-SPI income exceeded $12k in June. If SPI wasn't around I'd still be doing really well and living quite comfortably, earning much more than I did as an aspiring architect 😛
As I always mention, I’ll be the first to admit that a significant portion of my total online income comes as a result of The Smart Passive Income Blog—mostly from the products that I recommend as an affiliate, which are products I’ve used or am extremely familiar with and have helped me in one way, shape or form. Because of that, I have no shame in earning this much from the blog as I know that I'm helping people, I'm just fortunate that I'm doing so in a way that pays me back too.
The support from the SPI community is amazing. Some people even go out of their way to make sure they click on my referral links, which means the world to me. Thank you!
With this comes a great responsibility to the community that I know I have and will never take for granted—and as such I never promote just for the potential income that can come from an offer, even though those opportunities are definitely there.
I'm incredibly grateful for everything and I will continue to give back with valuable content and my experience in return.
Things I Learned in June
Since much of June was dedicated to my presentations, I've been studying and reading even more about what makes an amazing presentation and I've learned that if you can master (or work towards mastering) the live presentation, that particular skillset and everything that encompasses it will filter down and be incredibly useful in every aspect of our lives—from blog posts, podcasts and videos, all the way to how we interact with our family and friends.
It's all about communication.
Communication is everything.
What we write, how our sites are designed, how we engage our audience, how we sell—it's all about communicating something, and the better we can communicate, the better results we'll have in our business.
I'm definitely not a master at presenting, but I want to be because I know it will help everything else I'm involved in.
Since my Blog World Expo presentation, I've had several chats with various experts on the subject of public speaking, presenting and having an impact with what we share. I also picked up and devoured two amazing books by Nancy Duarte, Slideology and Resonate, which I cannot recommend enough.
Start with Resonate, and if you have an iPad, make sure you get it for the iPad through iBooks—it's the most amazing ebook I've ever
read experienced. Here's a preview:
Once baby #2 is a little more independent, I would't mind flying to one of Nancy's workshops too. Who wants to come with me? 😉
And lastly, to close up this post which ran a little longer than expected, I just have to say that I'm really proud of my son.
Our trip to Hawaii was his first trip on a plane ever, and that's a good 5 hour flight.
We were deathly afraid of being ‘that family' with the crying baby on board, because we were ‘that family' when we went out to restaurants in the first year of his life, but after the flight, when the plane stopped at the terminal and people got up up to get their bags in the overhead bins, several people looked over at us and said, “Whoa! I didn't even know there was a kid sitting there!”
There's not an emoticon big enough for that one 🙂
Cheers, and thank you for taking the time to read my report.